The 5 Biggest Myths About Stretching, Debunked

ILLUSTRATED BY MARY GALLOWAY
Refinery29 is participating in First Lady Michelle Obama's #GimmeFive challenge. To learn more, click here.

It's become a habit for most of us: a calf stretch before a run, an elbow pull before jumping in the pool, or a quick quad extender before hopping on the spin bike. That’s because until recently, stretching has always been a pre-workout must.

But, after decades of coaches and gym teachers barking the importance of a stretch-filled warm-up to prevent injuries and boost performance, new studies suggest stretching may not be the secret to athletic success after all. This new discovery has led some fitness experts to label stretching a waste of time, while others say it’s the type of stretching — and when during your workout you do it — that counts.

All of this has left us a little confused about what’s best for our bodies. So, we spoke to the experts to get the real deal. Ahead, five misconceptions to ditch.